Grain analyst Richard Brock didn’t say the bull market run for corn was over for sure, but his firm’s position on corn was very telling – 100 percent sold in old crop and 70 percent sold on new crop.

“These are interesting times,” said Brock, a speaker at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, in Memphis. “I don’t know that we’ve ever seen anything like it. Farm incomes have never been better. Everybody is excited. The question on everyone’s mind is how much longer this can continue. Anyone who has been farming for more than 10 years knows this is a cyclical business. Bad times don’t last forever. The bad news is that historically, the good times haven’t either. There’s always a ripple in the road.”

The ripple could be the potential for a big U.S. corn crop this season.

USDA has estimated U.S. corn plantings at 94 million acres, not far off from Brock’s estimate of 94.5 million acres. “I think that is very attainable. We’re estimating a yield of 161 bushels per acre. USDA is using a 164- bushel yield.”

Last year, U.S. corn planted acres were around 92 million acres, but sub-par average yields of 147.2 bushels resulted in a crop of 12.3 million bushels. With a good crop this year, Brock forecasts corn production for 2012-13 at slightly over 14 billion bushels. “The bottom line is that if you get a 94.5 million acres planted and a yield of 161 bushels, carryover goes from 820 million bushels to 1.9 billion bushels. That’s a major headache.”

Even if U.S. producers plant only 93.5 million acres to corn, and yield is only 156 bushels, “carryover would still come in around 897 million bushels.”

Consumption is also a concern in corn, Brock said. “Everybody is concentrating on planting acres for the coming year, but what we seem to forget is that $7 corn may end up being the worst thing that could have happened. It hurt our demand across the board.

“Feed and residual use went from 4.8 billion bushels to 4.6 billion bushels this year. Our livestock feed usage as a percent of the crop is the lowest in history. This was caused by a number of factors, including wheat prices getting so low that we saw a lot of wheat substitution in livestock rations, particularly in the Southwest in cattle.”

Brock also figures that the U.S. pork industry will contract this year. “Banks don’t want to lend money to the industry. More significantly, pork producers are going to have to go to bigger pens because of the efforts of animal rights groups. Estimates are that this will result in a reduction in production of about 3 percent over the next three years.”